29 October 2010


MDA awards SETI phase II SBIR contract for AlInN/GaN-based FETs

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETI) of Columbia, SC, USA a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to continue the development of aluminum indium nitride/gallium nitride (AlInN/GaN) heterostructures for X-band RF power amplification devices.

Although GaN-based transistors have emerged as a future technology for high-power microwave applications, technical challenges arising from the lattice mismatch between the AlGaN barrier layer and the GaN channel continue to lead to reliability issues. During Phase I of the SBIR program, SETI demonstrated the technical feasibility of using its patented MEMOCVD (migration-enhanced metal-organic chemical vapor deposition) technology for the growth of Ga-free high-quality AlInN layers, and produced AlInN/GaN hetrostructures with up to 22% indium content and achieved record sheet electron concentration in excess of 4.5x1013cm2. Using this material structure, record heterostructure field-effect transistors (HFETs) were produced, with peak drain currents exceeding 2A/mm and fT and fmax above 100GHz. Phase II of the program aims to scale the technology to 3-inch wafers with improved uniformity.

Since lattice-matched AlInN/GaN hetrostructures do not suffer from strain-related effects, significant device reliability improvements are expected. Moreover, due to much higher Al fractions in latticed-matched AlInN/GaN heterostructures, very high two-dimensional (2D) electron concentration can be achieved at very small barrier thickness. This should result in very high cut-off frequencies (fT) at very high maximum currents.

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